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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Making Room - Where Love Fits In

The week started with a bang… a publisher meeting, a book acceptance, a tearful hug, a bottle of champagne…long chilled for the day this excitement came, popped and poured and savored. I didn't know that wouldn't be the most exciting thing that happened this week.

Tuesday we were notified our foster care certification was official, that our home was opened to provide care, and less than 24 hours later, our phone was ringing… would we take a 4- and 5-year-old sibling set in an hour? We had said we had no room for boys, what with three already in one bedroom, and could only accept girls for placement, and with my writing and work commitments, only school-aged children fit into our current life.

But when the call came, it was so much clearer than it had been before… we don't fit love into the rest of our life. We just walk in love, first, and let the rest fall all over and around it, soaked up and stained by the color that bleeds from what love does.

With shuffling feet they came, feet but no shoes for them to fill, only the smoky, stained clothing on their bodies, and the funds normally set aside to clothe wards of the state previously squandered by those who came before us. They both wore diapers (and it turned out, they were 2 and 4 in actuality which made three babies under age 4 in our three-bedroom rental, plus our 8 and 12 year old, plus the 15-year-old whose adoption is underway).  They came with no clean diapers to change into… no car seats, no clothing, no belongings but the dime-store teddy bears that they had selected at the child services office.  

They peeked cautiously around corners, suspiciously tiptoed into their new home with trepidation and I watched my biological kiddos, the ones who didn't really choose this arrangement and told me, before the others arrived, that they weren't excited about it. I prayed, I asked you all for prayer, and we were covered, abundantly.

I know because despite my own bout of insomnia, three preschoolers snooze in mismatched sets of my son's pajamas, divvied up across the crowd until we can make it out shopping for right-sized ones. I know because there were way more laughs than tears today and because my children took the lead on loving them, taking hands and leading prayers, sharing toys and whispering sweetness, breaking my heart wide open with the simple practice of love that they grasp so much easier than I do, loving wide and well even when they didn't want to.  

Little J took deep whiffs of the ill-fitting pajamas after his bath and proclaimed, "They smell so good," and I remembered how simple delight could be. Then, kissing his sweaty forehead at bedtime, he asked, since the others called me Mama, if he could call me Mama too and if he could stay forever, and my heart swelled with the ease with which he felt at home here, despite his world being ripped wide open just a few hours ago even while I fought to remember that I was not charged with forever for these children, just for now.

They said Little M wouldn't sleep without her big brother in her bed, that they'd shared a twin mattress their whole lives and I probably shouldn't try to sleep her solo, but we read about Jesus and I stroked silky hair and her eyes drifted away and I knew this tiny girl needed a bed to grow into, a spot in the world that was only hers.

Mr. Smitten had to be away this evening, so I juggled a little more than usual and uttered a holy thank-you for the frozen flautas on hand for dinner in a pinch. There were tears and fibs, spilled milk and popsicle juice in the carpet, messy pants, bumped heads, cranky moments, and for Mama, excruciating back pain that leveled me to bed before the laundry was sorted (and yet, insomnia gets up me again and to my keyboard for the telling).

But there was love… much, much love. The kind that comes raining down like invisible pearls and echoes of the whispered prayers of friends and strangers. The kind that has me choking back tears at not just the disgrace of a world where foster care is needed, but the beauty in it, too.

There is love.


Linking up at Emily's for the summer's last Imperfect Prose and with Jennifer at Getting Down With Jesus. Join us?


  1. This is full of love and courage. May God bless and sustain you in loving these two new children while you care for them. It sounds like life is full - no wonder sleep flees sometimes.

  2. we don’t fit love...we walk into love...oh my...I love that...I will take this with me...and i will add you to my little list...I pray for those who have opened their hearts and homes to love those who need it most. blessings, peace , rest and all the grace God has for you today~

  3. I don't know you, but am praying for you and your family. My husband and I are just four months into our first placement of two little boys through foster care. We had a two-hour heads-up before picking them. I know that feeling of anxiousness and wondering 'What have I got myself in to?' =) Praying that you will ease into some sort of routine sooner rather than later. Will continue to pray. Thank you for post!

  4. oh, just celebrating your beautiful mama heart right now, Cara. my husband and i have talked about doing the same--so glad you are stepping out into what God is calling you to. blessings and thank you for your words at my place the other day--you BLESS! ~Nacole

  5. Oh, Cara. Your sincere and and loving heart just bleeds through this whole story.
    We took in foster kids when I was a child, and your descriptions of those children brought it all back. Right down to the smoky, stained clothing. I thank God for how He was weaving love and openness into me, even back then. Even when I wasn't so excited about sharing MY home and MY parents, etc., He was teaching me that the way to be filled is not to hoard, but to give. I have forgotten this lesson many times since, but your words reminded me today.
    Thank you. And may He continue to pour out grace on you for all your 'todays.'

  6. This is gorgeous. It makes my back hurt just thinking about writing a book in the midst of all those little people. And what a big heart you have. I am so thrilled to meet you and read your lovely words.

  7. Oh my goodness, Cara. LOVELY. So much exciting news...and change. Many, many blessings of peace and grace as you settle into all this wonderful newness.

  8. smiles..you and your hubs are beautiful people for doing this...so many little people with needs it is good to know that these are in good hands with you...def hear your heart in this...and you will def be given the strength....

  9. Wow wow wow! This is so beautifully written - and such a whirlwind of love and grace that I got swept up into. I want to celebrate you for the way that your instinct is to love and sacrifice - the way of Jesus. You have challenged me to think of the ways that I need to be more spontaneous in letting people into my life rather than keeping them at a safe distance.

    AND so many congratulations for the book deal! Oh my! What is it? And when will it be published? And I love that this wasn't the star of the post but your children and your heart for them. It is always best when love is the star...

  10. again, your story reminds me so much of my own, friend. praying SUCH strength for you right now, that someone would come along to help you care for these children, giving you time to write and to sleep. remember to take care of yourself, too, okay? i love that you are doing this. this, this, is what Christ has called us to do. i have no doubt about it. and he will bless you for taking care of his children, friend. let me know if you ever need anything. even just a shoulder to weep on. xo

  11. and a BIG congrats on the book deal!

  12. Melissa SmallwoodJune 30, 2012 at 7:46 AM

    So beautiful and thank you for being honest about the fact that your kids weren't excited about the additions to your family. I was criticized by a family member for "putting my kids through all this, why don't you wait until they are grown" and it has been bothering me all week. Your words reminded me that we answer these calls because God desires us to and no one else's opinion matters. Big congrats on the book deal!!

  13. So much beauty in this, Cara. Blessings to you.

  14. I feel like i just fell into your story, a story I know is in my near future. Thanks for sharing it, and sharing it so well.

  15. there is always love in a heart so big and open. continued prayers for you and all your sweet babes. xo

  16. Stephanie SikorskiJuly 1, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    Found you via Sunday Superlatives - God bless you with grace, mercy and much, muchity much more love on your parenting journey.

  17. Hey! Beautiful post!
    My mum and dad have fostered children since before I was born, and whilst I tended to feel resentment at times for not having their full time, attention, and love (or so it seemed), I'm forever grateful for them and what they do. My experiences through their job/vocation have given me a big heart for others and justice, and I learned a lot about servanthood and "everything has a time", too (some children were only with us for a season whereas others stayed in our lives). I'm sure your children will be so blessed too.
    May God bless you and your family abundantly. Lots of love.

  18. You are so brave to step out in faith. Thank you for sharing the journey with us.

  19. A friend shared this post with me because it reminded her of the one I posted today. I don't know where you are now with this, but I will pray and continue to pray. Foster parenting is the hardest, most rewarding blessings I have even been involved with. Beautiful post, beautiful writing. Thank you for sharing and for being brave to step out in faith. And love.


Your comments are such an encouragement. Thank you for sharing your valuable words.